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Old 04-30-2015, 09:14 AM   #1
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I want to put vinegar in my water system

My trailer was lived in for a few years by the PO. They had it hooked up in Florida and because of this I have a bunch of minerals in my water system. Every time we travel and hook up to water I have to disconnect the faucet strainers in the kitchen and the bathroom to clear out the minerals that have broken free. I was thinking of putting vinegar in my water system to dissolve the minerals. How would you do this?

I was thinking of picking up a few gallons of vinegar (ten or more) and putting it in the fresh water tank and then pumping it into my plumbing. Then I was going to let it sit for a couple of weeks to let it dissolve the minerals. After that I was going to flush it repeatedly with fresh water.

How does that sound for a plan? Does anyone know of a different way I can approach this?

-Alden
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Old 04-30-2015, 09:22 AM   #2
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Sounds fine to me. I only use vinegar annually in the water heater for scale softening/removal. The rest of my system has been used frequently and not scaled up. I use a softener in areas with very hard water.
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Old 04-30-2015, 09:50 AM   #3
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generally that material comes form the hot water heater and shows up just after filling the heater. I would drain the heater and then while filling it, this will disturb the sediment, open the bathroom hot water faucet, strainer removed, and flush the material as the heater fills. Once the heater if full I would flush the other faucets and let things settle after that.

Another option is to drain the heater. Insert a short piece of 3/8 fuel line hose and do short fill cycles of the tank using the hose as a siphon to pull the disturbed sediment.
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Old 04-30-2015, 09:51 AM   #4
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I don't see anything wrong with your plan. My water pump has a filter so you might want to check that as well. Let us know how this worked out.

Howie makes a very good point. I have seen commercial tools used to flush out water tanks. You can remove the drain plug and wash it out. This might be the issue.
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Old 04-30-2015, 09:57 AM   #5
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If you google atwood water heater, there are directions for purging the calcium buildup from the water heater. If you remove the pressure relief valve, you can pour in several gallons of vinegar, replace and heat up the water/vinegar mix. Let it sit for a day and then drain by removing the drain plug and flushing the tank with a hose.
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Old 04-30-2015, 10:00 AM   #6
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Here is my vinegar process:

With heater drained remove the plug. Procure a fitting which will thread into the plug hole on one end and fit a hose on the other. (Chose you own hose setup). The hose should be long enough for the end of it to be held above the level of the top of the tank.

Close the heater bypass valve (winter antifreeze positions).

Open the pressure relief valve at the top of the heater.

Use a funnel with the hose end higher than the top of the tank and pour in vinegar until it begins to come out the relief valve.

Bungee the hose end to something (I use the awning arm) to hold it up high.

Let soak for a day or so.

Lower hose and drain the vinegar into a bucket and dispose.

Remove the hose.

use one of these to flush the vinegar and residue out of the tank through the drain hole.

Water Heater Tank Rinser - Camco 11691 - Water Heaters - Camping World

Re-install the plug and close the releif valve, open bypass and you're done.
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Old 04-30-2015, 11:14 AM   #7
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These are some great tips - I think water heater sediment is causing our bathroom sink faucet to have very low pressure when the shower and toilet are fine. We recently repaired our water heater, so we likely have build up that is now breaking loose also.
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Old 04-30-2015, 02:30 PM   #8
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Wow, thanks!

I thought it might be the heater but wasn't sure. I am willing to give that a try first.


-Alden
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Old 04-30-2015, 02:34 PM   #9
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I want to put vinegar in my water system

I had not thought of doing that. Sounds like a project. My water heater is not even a year old but I suppose that build up can happen quickly in heavily mineralized water.
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Old 04-30-2015, 02:48 PM   #10
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Re bathroom sink flow flow; the areator is likely plugged. Unscrew it and clean the screen. We had this same problem with our kitchen sink...took me months to finally figure it out!

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Old 04-30-2015, 03:30 PM   #11
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Thanks, I learned something!!!
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Old 04-30-2015, 04:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCWDCW View Post
Re bathroom sink flow flow; the areator is likely plugged. Unscrew it and clean the screen. We had this same problem with our kitchen sink...took me months to finally figure it out!

JCW
Yep, that's the beginning of each trip after turning the water on. Remove the aerator from both the kitchen and the bathroom sinks.

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Old 04-30-2015, 06:31 PM   #13
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Winterized does it

If you winterize using vinegar rather than anti-freeze, without activating the bypass valve and go ahead and fill the hot water tank too, you will have vinegar everywhere. Guessing 7-8 gallons. Best of luck.
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I was thinking of picking up a few gallons of vinegar (ten or more) and putting it in the fresh water tank.....
If you put anything in that tank besides water, you'll have a helluva time getting it out. This means you'll hafta flush your water tank out several times 'til you get it right.

So do your chemistry research first. Get a pH meter. Monitor pH values before, during, and after. As a control, measure pH in your city water.

Since calcium deposits are on the basic side, you'll need an acid strong enough to dissolve them. Since vinegar is a weak (citric) acid you will need to flush your plumbing repeatedly until calcium deposits disolve and/or break up.

I think I would back-flush (several times) your plumbing with straight vinegar, like you would when you winterize with RV anti-freeze. Leave vinegar in plumbing over night. Back-flush with fresh water. Then replace with fresh vinegar. Wash, rinse, repeat.

However, when calcium deposits break up in chunks, faucets (mixing valves) may clog even further. So you hafta be patient with this procedure and let the vinegar do it's job.

BTW - I'm skeptical about putting vinegar in the water tank. I would back-flush instead.

IMHO, calcium deposits will be much more pronounced in hot water plumbing; not so much so in cold water plumbing.

Tom
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